Height Weight Charts
Tool or Artifact?

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Height Weight Chart

Height
 
Small
Frame
Medium
Frame
Large
Frame
4' 10"102-111 109-121118-131
4' 11"103-113 111-123120-134
5' 0" 104-115 113-126122-137
5' 1"106-118 115-129125-140
5' 2"108-121 118-132128-143
5' 3"111-124 121-135131-147
5' 4"114-127 124-138134-151
5' 5"117-130 127-141137-155
5' 6"120-133 130-144140-159
5' 7"123-136 133-147143-163
5' 8"126-139 136-150146-167
5' 9"129-142 139-153149-170
5' 10"132-145 142-156152-173
5' 11"135-148 145-159155-176
6' 0"138-151 148-162158-179

Weights at ages 25-59 based on lowest mortality. Weight in pounds according to frame (in indoor clothing weighing 3 lbs.; shoes with 1" heels)

Ever wonder where height weight charts came from and who decided what a person "should" weigh for their height?

Answer: A life insurance company came up with them.

When did they come up with height and weight charts?

Answer: 1943

What was their criteria?

Answer: "Desirable weights" were those weights at which the lowest number of deaths occurred. This was, after all, a life insurance company!

Still, there's some truth here

It makes sense...you weigh a certain (low) amount...you live longer!

For example, a medium framed woman of 5'6" who weighs 130-144 pounds has the lowest risk of dying compared to other women of the same height. Thus, the height weight chart says 130-144 pounds is a "desirable" or "healthy" weight for a height of 5'6".

Somewhere along the way, the word "ideal" got attached to these defined ranges.

These height weight charts that were introduced in the 40's (by The Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.) are still used today. However, they have been only slightly revised since, despite the fact that people are taller and heavier now.

(Look closely at the statement at the bottom of each chart. You need actually to add one inch to your undressed height and 3 pounds to your undressed weight - 5 lbs. if you're a man - to truly figure out where you belong on the chart.)

Height
 
Small
Frame
Medium
Frame
Large
Frame
5' 2"128-134 131-141138-150
5' 3"130-136 133-143140-153
5'' 4"132-138 135-145142-156
5' 5"134-140 137-148144-160
5' 6"136-142 139-151146-164
5' 7"138-145 142-154149-168
5' 8"140-148 145-157152-172
5' 9"142-151 148-160155-176
5' 10"144-154 151-163158-180
5' 11"146-157 154-166161-184
6' 0"149-160 157-170164-188
6' 1"152-164 160-174168-192
6' 2"155-168 164-178172-197
6' 3"158-172 167-182176-202
6' 4"162-176 171-187181-207

Weights at ages 25-59 based on lowest mortality. Weight in pounds according to frame (in indoor clothing weighing 5 lbs.; shoes with 1" heels)

Now keep in mind...

The charts are:

  • Designed only for adults 25-59 years old
  • Not suitable for children or young adults
  • Skewed too heavy for short people
  • Not very accurate for tall people
  • Blind to changes in weight resulting from aging
  • Without a clear definition as to what you should consider your "frame size"

Despite these shortcomings, the charts are still sometimes seen as "the gold standard" in defining "ideal weight," when in fact they should not be. The information in the height weight charts should be considered, but do not take it as "the final word."

Absolute weight is not the best method for establishing your health anyway! Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of excess body fat and it gives a better indication of health risks than body weight alone does. It's a form of height-weight ratio, and a better indicator of healthy weight for height.


See my BMI Calculator.

Then, find out what you would need to weigh in order for your BMI to fall into the "healthy" category.Calculate BMI.

If you've determined you're overweight, see my FREE Weight Loss Help


Chances are you have some pre-conceived notion of what you "should" weigh (or want to weigh). Is your ideal weight realistic...

...fantasy (skewed by the media and unattainable standards)...

...or truly healthy?

See all kinds of body shapes and sizes with this truly unique photographic height weight chart, featuring photos of dozens of different body types at all heights and weights.

See All Nutrition Calculators

Back to Personal Nutrition Guide Home Page

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